The U.S. economy is growing faster than Federal Reserve officials expected, indicating that the recovery in the last months of Donald Trump’s presidency was much stronger than commonly thought.
At the conclusion of the two-day meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee, the Fed released a summary of the economic projections of Federal Reserve board members and Fed presidents. These showed some large, positive changes since the last release of projections in September.
The median projection for the path of the economy in 2020 is a 2.4 percent contraction, less severe than the 3.7 percent contraction forecast in September. At the June meeting, the median projection was for a much larger 6.5 percent contraction.
The median projection for the unemployment rate at year’s end came down to 6.7 percent from 7.6 percent in September and 9.3 percent in June.
Trump was right about a "V-shaped" economic snapback: Back in June, the Fed forecast real GDP would sink 6.5% in 2020; now it's targeting a decline of 2.4%. Also back in June, the Fed projected a year-end unemployment rate of 9.3%, compared with the current level of 6.7%
— Paul Sperry (@paulsperry_) December 17, 2020
The revisions indicate that the Trump administration’s efforts to speed up the recovery, helped along with the economic aid package it shepherded through Congress this spring, have been more effective than most analysts expected.
The Fed also upgraded its views for next year and the year after that. The economy is expected to expand 4.2 percent in 2021, up from the 4.0 percent expansion forecast in September. The 2022 growth rate is projected at 3.2 percent, up from 3.0 percent.
Unemployment is now seen as falling to 5.0 percent in 2021, compared with 5.5 back in June. It is projected to fall to 4.2 percent by the end of 2022, down from 4.6 percent projected in June.
There is no stimulus that will ever support Americans the way an OPEN ECONOMY will.
— Rep. Matt Gaetz (@RepMattGaetz) December 16, 2020
The Federal Reserve said Wednesday that it will keep buying government bonds until the economy makes “substantial” progress, a step intended to reassure financial markets and keep long-term borrowing rates low indefinitely, according to AP.
The Fed also reiterated after its latest policy meeting that it expects to keep its benchmark short-term interest rate near zero through at least 2023. The Fed has kept its key rate there since March, when it took a range of extraordinary steps to fight the pandemic recession by keeping credit flowing.
Chair Jerome Powell said he and other Fed officials expect the economy to rebound at a healthy pace next year as viral vaccines become widely distributed. But the next three to six months will likely be painful for the unemployed and small businesses as pandemic cases spike, Powell said at a news conference.
Meanwhile, so-called President-Elect Joe Biden has reportedly named Former Fed President Janet Yellen as Treasury Secretary.
I’m proud to talk with President-elect Biden’s core economic nominees today, led by Brooklyn-native Janet Yellen.
I know they'll get to work not just on rebuilding our economy, but striving to provide greater and more equitable prosperity to future generations. pic.twitter.com/zMicVlt4M6
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) December 9, 2020